Last month, the Association of Play Industries (API) launched its Equal Play campaign based on new research which showed that access to public play spaces in the UK is unfair and unequal. A Freedom of Information survey revealed that some UK regions have almost five times the free-to-access play provision of others.
Given the enormous variation in play provision across the UK, the API has since been inundated with requests for more localised data. In response to these queries, we are sharing maps outlining the state of play in each of the four nations, the second of which is Wales.
API Chair, Mark Hardy says:
“Public playgrounds are the number one location for children’s play* and overall, Welsh children have access to over twice the number of playgrounds than children in London. However, the devil is in the detail and a closer look at the data reveals just how patchy play provision in Wales is.
“Some areas such as Monmouthshire, Ceredigion and Conwy enjoy some of the best play provision in the UK, with 149, 157 and 172 children per playground respectively. At the other extreme, children in Denbighshire endure rates – 876 children per playground – in line with the very worst areas of the UK. Children in Neath Port Talbot and Cardiff are also at a huge disadvantage with rates around 600 children per playground.
“Outdoor play is essential for children’s normal physical, mental, social and emotional development. Millions of children, particularly those without their own private outdoor space, are being disadvantaged by the ‘postcode lottery’ in play and it has to stop.
“We are asking the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities for ring-fenced funding for play, to enable local authorities to provide every child in the UK with a safe, local and high-quality playground nearby.”
*away from the home setting
The Association of Play Industries (API) carried out FOI requests in 2017 and 2018 that highlighted an alarming decline in the number of playgrounds and in the amount spent by Local Authorities on play provision: Nowhere To Play Campaign
An updated API FOI survey was commissioned to find out how many play areas exist and what Local Authorities’ plans are for 2020 and 2021. The results show that the number of play areas is no longer reducing and that the decline seems to have ‘bottomed out’. However, the data clearly shows that it is a postcode lottery as to the number and quality of play areas children have access to in their local area.
A 2019 API survey of over 1100 parents showed that the vast majority of parents say that playgrounds are vital in getting children outdoors and active again. 9 out of 10 parents who were not close to a playground said that having access would make their child play outside more. Play Must Stay Campaign
In 2019, the API released A Movement for Movement showing, for the first time, a strong link between recreational screen time and children’s inactivity.
Notes to Editors:
The Association of Play Industries (API) www.api-play.org is the lead trade body within the play sector and campaigns at the highest levels for policy recognition for play. Its members are leading manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of both outdoor and indoor play equipment and safety surfacing. Founded in 1984, the API represents 85% of the play industry.
The API operates under the umbrella of the Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA), the national trade body responsible for representing Sports and Play Associations in the UK’s sport and play industries. www.sportsandplay.com
Mary Lubrano, Head of Communications. For further information contact Mary on e: [email protected] m: 07999 550452